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Leicester grind past Exeter

23rd March 2013 19:08

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Toby Flood R of Leicester Tigers is tackled by Carl Rimmer of Exeter Chiefs

Four penalties: Toby Flood

Stand-in captain Toby Flood kicked all of Leicester Tigers' points as they defeated Exeter Chiefs 12-9 in a tense encounter at Sandy Park to move into second in the Premiership standings.

Three penalties each from Gareth Steenson and Flood saw the teams go into the break level at 9-9.

The second half remained scoreless as the respective forward packs looked to wrestle control, but Leicester's fly-half snatched the win with a late three-pointer.

Despite enduring a disappointing run of form post-Christmas, the Chiefs have found themselves back in contention to reach the top-six after defeating champions Harlequins three weeks ago. Although Northampton's last minute victory over Wasps has made reaching the play-offs an unlikely proposition, Heineken Cup qualification is still a possibility.

And they made the perfect start when Steenson kicked them ahead as the Tigers were penalised for not rolling away.

However, Leicester responded and Flood levelled matters before adding another penalty after 24 minutes to take them into a 6-3 lead.

The respective kickers then traded further three-pointers but it was the visitors that were beginning to get on top.

Richard Cockerill's men had an excellent opportunity to cross for the first try but full-back Mathew Tait butchered the chance and Exeter cleared.

It altered the momentum and Steenson equalised for the hosts just before the interval. And the Tigers failed to seriously test the Chiefs' defence in the early stages of the second period as the West Country outfit controlled the territory.

Haydn Thomas, Jack Nowell and Matt Jess all made darts but mistakes prevented them from building on their excellent end to the first half.

In the end, it was the away side that managed to get the decisive score when Flood's penalty gained the win which moved them to within one point of leaders Saracens.

The scorers:

For Exeter:
Pens: Steenson 3

For Leicester:
Pens: Flood 4

Exeter Chiefs:15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter (c), 7 Dave Ewers, 6 Ben White, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 James Hanks, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Ian Whitten.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Graham Kitchener, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Venue: Sandy Park
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Paul Burton
TMO: Geoffrey Warren

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